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I have Automated Updates turned off on my xp pro Svce Pack 3 desktop. However, this does not stop Microsoft from hanging my computer up on startup: it assaults my computer with a popup that nags me about Automatic Updates being turned off and won't I please! click the balloon to resolve the issue -- which evokes a panel  demanding that I upgrade to Windows 8. Which I don't want to do because Windows 8 does what I don't need and doesn't do what I do need. When I get a new computer that is willing to take on higher than xp, it will be Windows 7 or maybe 9 depending on how long I wait to do it and whether 9 follows the established trend of odd-number versions being usable while even-number ones are not. I don't know how long that will be. Forces pushing me in the direction of a new computer are that it is becoming increasingly unviable for me to work on a computer sitting at a desk; I'm constantly working on paring down my energy footprint; and if I had a really good laptop capable of graphics and gaming I wouldn't need two computers in order to work away from home or in other parts of the house. Forces pulling me away from it are: almost all of the programs I use for work and entertainment are about ten years old; and navigating the specs in order to buy a new computer is a tedious job I keep putting off. I got a step closer to it today when my barbie-pink ancient laptop started sparking at the AC cord because it is that frayed. I was concerned about the cord, and I have been keeping a watch on it, but apparently the leap from "I don't look so good" to "I am shorting and sparking" is a matter of a few hours only. The cord is fixable or replaceable but on the other hand, a new laptop is also attractive.

In the meantime, how do I stop the autmatic nag popup complaining about me not having automatic updates turned on? As I said earlier, turning automatic updates back on ony results in even more florid nagging. The popup is not a trivial thing. It causes my computer to hang when it is loading -- adding maybe five or ten minutes to the process normally, which is what? a few hundred percent longer. This morning was worse -- I don't know if it is a portent -- but it caused the computer to fail to finish booting altogether. It got to the phase when the popup arises, and then no farther, so that I was not able to dismiss the popup or start any other program. How do I make it stop? I tried contacting Microsoft but they don't recognize me as a person who has an account though I've done business with them before (I have no idea why, but when I tried for a single-use key I had to give them the number associated with the account, which is a landline and doesn't take texts so I was still screwed).

Don't tell me "Switch to Mac" or "Switch to Linux" because I have programs that don't function in those environments and people who run them in emulators complain all the time.

If you don't have a suggestion for taming the popup, do you have a suggestion for a gaming laptop that runs Windows 7? Preferably a couple-few years old: the graphics card should be high-end but not too new so that it is compatible with what I do.

On another front, sometimes a market announcement will suggest a solution for an old writing problem (as in, maybe that novel that never quite worked would work as a novella?).

edit: after looking at the work in question, I'm thinking: total rewrite. Oh my dear it is made of infodump.
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It's 71K, about a third of the way through chapter 14, and ought to be done by the end of chapter 15. 16 if I can't resist more complications. So about 89% done in the first draft state. And since it's just gone July 21, I may be almost a whole week behind schedule.

Anybody want to read a nerdy gay romantic comedy with real nerdiness and probably not enough comedy?

And then back to Afterwar, I think.
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So for the last week I've not posted a thing. My life has not been uneventful, I have not been in a coma, but I have been in and out and hyou know how that goes.

I went to Westercon with [livejournal.com profile] julesjones and had a wonderful time. It was like all the best parts of school. (I loved being a student -- going to classes, listening to lectures, trying on new ideas, talking to people in an intellectual context. I wasn't the greatest in terms of discipline and focus, but sheer enthusiasm carried me for a long time before things got hard enough that I actually had to work) One of the guests was Marianne Porter, an employee of the Pennsylvania Health Department, who gava a presentation on current and future trends in disease and participated in panels on public health and genetics and law and . . . The disease presentation was billed as being about bioterror mainly and I almost didn't go because I didn't know her yet and I didn't want to sit through a bunch of paranoid raving. I decided that because I've decided that disease as a weapon is an important factor in Afterwar I had to go regardless of how painfully dumb it might turn out to be. And then! It turned out to be wonderful! And she gave me her notes! Which includes copies of the slides! Only a little bit of it was about bioterror, and that part came after a really interesting and informative discussion of how disease evolves and the history of disease and people and most of all the status of disease and what public health people are looking out for and what they're doing about it.

And an up-to-then up-to-date explanation of Andrew Speaker, the asshole with the multiple drug resistant TB who thinks his right to fly to Europe for a honeymoon trumps other people's rights to get on an airplane without having their lives willfully endangered. (Since arriving in Denver, where he will be confined to hospital for two years, they have found that what they originally thought was extensively drug resistant tuberculosis was merely multpily drug resistant tuberculosis. He has given a press conference -- by proxy, he can't be exposed to reporters at the moment -- in which he said that the Centers for Disease Control ruined his life and acted half-cocked and there was nothing to worry about after all -- but the CDC says that the disease he has warrants the exact same precautions as the disease they thought he had). She didn't call the man names. She was very polite.

[livejournal.com profile] julesjones is a generous and wonderful person who put me up and put up with me for ages and ages. We went to most panels together, though when I was first exposed to the fantastically brilliant and comprehensible Ms. Porter, she was at a writing panel. Also I went to the Global Warming panel while she was doing another writing panel. Actually, all weekend, we were doing the biology track and the writing track. I have to say Westercon did a brilliant job in the science panels. The people who were on the panels actually knew something about the topics they were talking about, they stayed more or less on topic (I'm not against digression. I just like the digression to be pointful and to come back to the topic at hand within a reasonable amount of time). There were not stupid spherical cow arguments. This is not to say people always agreed about everything or had the same point of view. Frank Wu, for example, on the DNA panel, is a patent agent for a pharmaceutical company. So his take on patents is different from a sane person's. But: he is sane about it, and had interesting things to say about the industry, and his point of view added to the whole picture. Perhaps because he actually is sane. Maybe he wouldn't like having that said about him.

The other biology sessions I went to were about the legalities, ethics, precedents, and efficacy of quarantine, social isolation, and patient isolation in the face of epidemics and a presentation on "alien sex" by Patricia McEwen -- actually, what she does is gather up some really strange behaviors of Earthly organisms (so far mostly animals, mostly macroscopic), chosen to coordinate with a particular theme. She says she wants writers to develop really more alien sex in their writing and she's giving inspiration. Well, she's inspired [livejournal.com profile] julesjones already. I'm cogitating, myself.

Also I workshopped a story there, and I'm rewriting it heavily with the advice I got there. It's becoming a much stronger story. I don't get why I often write a story with dampened affect and missing details in the first several drafts. I know I've done it but it's not until I get someone else to read it that I figure out exactly what I've left out and where I've got to put it. The story in question is the evacuation team in the subsiding neighborhood one. One of the cool things is that Kay Tracy, one of the other members of the workshop, is involved with Civil Air Patrol and had a lot of FEMA and search-and-rescue knowledge and she put me on the right path to sorting out authorities and responsibilities and permissions. It's really quite cool, because although the story is about a made-up agency and made-up rules, it's more interesting to embed them properly in a continuum from the here and now and actual procedures.

Okay, what's going to happen is sort of spammy. Because I'm thinking about a lot of things at once, so it would be a really long post with too many changes of subject. But it's going to be a gentle spammy flow, not a logorrheic cascade, because I have work and writing and housework to do too.

Oh, some information, just for me, and just for the record: A suitable lover is at 65K, I've started chapter thirteen, and I think it will be 14 or 15 chapters. Also, I've lost fifteen pounds (I'm bouncing between the fourteen and sixteen marks now: I have about 55 to go till I'm done, though I will still be heavier than most people), and I have quit keeping the night pain diary for now because it's boring to write "one or two wakings, negligible pain, negligible morning grogginess" over and over. Pain and range-of-motion issues are not gone, but they are managed. Yay me! and Yay Dr. Johsens! and Yay meloxicam and gabapentin! and Yay exercises!

well.

Jun. 13th, 2007 09:58 am
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The application fee for the Charles University medical program in Prague is $47: the tuition and fees are $14K/year.

The entrance exam must be taken in Prague, and the questions are written in Czechlish. (Which are vector?)

I made my first fresh apricot pie of the season yesterday, from windfall apricots, therefore mostly somewhat underripe, but they cooked up lovely. I think I may be able to spare the life of the apricot tree, by the way. Zak made the pie crust according to a new style derived from French style. This is how he did it:

1+1/2 c all-purpose flour (not pastry)
1/2 c almond meal
1 c frozen butter
couple tablespoons sugar, splash of vanilla

grate the butter into the flour, then cut it in
when it's pea size lumps and not too even pour a couple tablespoons ice water over it and knead it briefly.

Freeze it overnight preferably: we had an hour and a half

It rolls and handles nicely, it's tender, but I'm not sure that it isn't too rich. In this case, because the apricots were tart, it worked nicely. We ate the pie hot with half and half on it. I seasoned the apricots with vanilla, almond extract, Meyer lemon of course, and I meant to put in cardamom or cinnamon and forgot.


And finally: I have almost figured out everything that happens in the big party scene, and I think the stateroom doors aspect is diminishing and that very little of the action that doesn't directly involve our guys is going on the page. And that's all right. But I'm going to do some more choreographing before I write it.

I have a name issue.
A dozen and a half characters, of whom some are minor. A major character named Patrick and one named Parris. Is that confusing? Every time I try to rename one of them I hate the result.

Maybe I could do something with the confusion, if there is any. I've already changed several names in the story because they were too similar (Mary Anne, Marisa, Marie, all kind of minor characters of consequence)

On another front, I have figured out something for when I get back to Afterwar, and I'm noting it here for my own benefit.
First chapter: the war is over, pretty much as it is. Second chapter: "the first camp"

The day that Pablo learned the war was over was the day the war started for children in another town. The weather was the same: high and blue, with a brisk inciting wind. The school was similar, podded classrooms plumping into a bright green field. The children ran and ran in the wind, but they were not running from other children playing a game. They were running from the incidental fires started by precision missiles aimed at insurgent headquarters in the urgent care clinic next door to the school. Insurgent was the new word used for the people who refused to leave the towns so that the Puros could resettle their own people there. They used to be called other things.

The wind that blew the promise of peace through Pablo's town and fanned the flames through this town blew the children, still running, out of their hometowns and into the great valley.

Some of them fetched up at Maris Camp.

and then mumble mumble we somehow have to get specific while not naming this little girl who will become Resi's mother at fourteen and die before she's eighteen. It's important for the reader not to know her name or the town she comes from but my current understanding of the story indicates that the reader needs to see Resi's timeline concurrent with Pablo's, even though it naturally starts years later than Pablo's does.
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"The Astronaut Farmer" is a dumb movie that pretends to be a lot more fun than it is.

On another front, I think I have yet a different way to structure Afterwar but it's going to take real scissors and paper to figure it out.

On a further front, the dishwasher appears to have a clogged hot-water intake but the real issue is how to get the dishwasher out, since the floorboards are too high and the screws that were put in just so they could be lifted to get the dishwasher out are stripped. Last I heard they were going to try drilling them out. Meanwhile, the dishwasher makes an excellent two-tier drying rack.

Also -- this is a question for you romance readers -- is it just my impression, or is it true that historical romances are more likely than modern ones to have really disgusting sexual politics in them? And the most likely to really make a sensible person gag have those simpery covers with flower-covered gate arbors or lawn swings on them? And urban ones are less likely to be really sanctimonious than rural ones?

Or is this a collection of artifacts of the Watsonville readers of romance who donate their old books to the Sallies and the Goodwill?
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I have got so many copies of Afterwar floating around -- I can't keep track. I've never had it this bad, and it's happening in spite of the fact that I keep killing extra files.

Since the book is undergoing constant rigorous reworking -- never has anything in my life been so hard to write, except maybe things I gave up on, which is probably why I don't give up even though it means my output is low because of it -- there are new scenelets lying around the landscape and I can't always find them which means I have to write them over again.

What did Dylan say about the price to keep from having to go through all this twice?

How about six times?

On another front, I'm making potato and wild mushroom piroshkis tonight. I already made a Shaker Lime Pie and a borscht of yellow vegetables (yellow beets, parsnips, rutabaga, carrots). This is for a shadowrun game! Do I rock? I have decided that you can take the Shaker Lemon Pie and do it with any citrus at all. I may do it with grapefruit next time, though there are modifications I would make. Mainly, I'd prepare the grapefruit as for marmalade. I'd remove the outer layer of skin -- not zest it, but cut it with a tiny amount of white on it -- and take most of the white off the fruit too. This is because the white on grapefruits is so thick that I think it would dominate the pie unpleasantly. And because grapefruit are so big I'd use 1/8 slices instead of whole slices.

I don't play shadowrun, I don't do games at all, just puzzles. And yes, cooking is an opiate for me.

Okay, back to work. It was only a couple of paragraphs, anyway. But they're important paragraphs, because they make the good bureaucrat more active in trying to protect the man without a country, and make it all the more shocking when the man without a country runs off with the people smugglers.

One last thing: Gogol Bordello rocks.

no storylet

Dec. 3rd, 2006 11:41 pm
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Working on the synopsis for Afterwar requested by my writing group. Easier than other synopses because I know what they want to see in it, and why. But since they want it soo they can understand the kind of complicated time line and judge for themselves whether they think the book would do better with a different chapter order, it has to be very very complete and it takes a long time.

We went to Gray Whale ranch with the nice fellow's brother. No mushrooms to speak of, the ground was dry, and the moss was dried up. This is the new pattern for the central coast: a dedent opener, and then nothing much until January. Plays havoc with the bolete and chanterelle seasons. But we've gathered a lot of shrooms already.

You know that new kind of spam where the subject field has the sender's name (as in "tristan said:" or "Re:Harry")? I just got one from a Tristan Conklin in Australia, with the subject header "Fwd: re: Conklin" which meant that I had to look at it, because there was an offchance that it could be about Uncle Groff. No.
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So here's the reason I was asking people about the shape of dinner. At least one of the editions of The Joy of Cooking says something about "in California, where they do everything their own way, the salad comes first." Another old cookbook says "It's becoming more common for people everywhere to serve the salad first, as they do in California." And this Spanish cookbook I was reading said, "In Spain, as in California, the salad is served first."

I'm a California girl, and yeah, if there's going to be an order to the meal, I expect salad to come early (but I think soup trumps salad for first position, though since I have no dining room and an awkwardly-shaped kitchen with no room for a dining table, dinners here are always food laid out around the kitchen all at once and people fare the best they can). But I just thought it was weird that for a time anyway there was a perception that salad comes some other place in the meal than the front, except in California and Spain, where you expect things to be different.

On another front, I'm at 46K words for Prospect Road, and for probably the first time ever I have no clear idea of what the end of the story is. But I'm having fun with it, which is some consolation. Oh, and Afterwar? doing that thing with the verbs might be paying off. I don't know. Anyway, I did realize that the word the writing group probably wanted instead of passive is static. Because passive means something grammatically, and it's not "excessive use of appositives (if I remember that right) and progressive past."
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So my writing group tells me that was and were are bad, not altogether, but need to be very sparely used. Afterwar has a lot of description and a lot of past progressive tense. So I'm trying to replace almost every incidence of was and were with other verb things.

But I want that past progressive.

I do think they're on to something, though the thing they're on to is not what they say it is ("sentences in the passive"). I have been struggling to make the story more robust and frightening, and I tend to fail, I think because of my own personality defects, really.

I think I've figured out something that might satisfy the need to liven the prose as well as my need for the past progressive: retaining the past progressive structure but replacing the auxiliary verb with an "active" verb. We'll see.

But I refuse to join them in calling sentences with the structure "He was a bureaucrat" or "He was pulling the wagon" passive. Passive is "He was called a bureaucrat" or "The wagon was being pulled by him." That's a fact of grammar, not an opinion about style.
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I'm working really slowly on a total rewrite of chapter four of Afterwar. This is a chapter whose purpose is a little obscure, and the way it was originally written it was really hard to care about. But after getting the critique on the first three chapters I have an additional goal for every chapter: which is to establish and advance my man of action as a man of action, and not a depressive and passive creature like most of my protagonists. So in chapter four, originally, there was a bunch of stuff that just happened, and then Pablo organized a charity drive among the kids at his school, and then there was some video that caught his attention. So I moved things around and changed things so the "stuff that happened" was mostly initiated by Pablo, and the controversy which was mentioned in passing before is moved more front and center and Pablo gets to be in the middle of it. But he's not omnipotent, and it's not his eloquence but a distant disaster that changes everybody's mind about things.

It's going slowly because I'm having to do a lot of invention. Usually when I write I already know most of what goes where and the only invention that happens is that weird speaking-in-tongues thing when stuff just comes out of nowhere. This is more deliberate and I have to keep stopping and thinking "What? What? How does that go?" which gives me excuses to play a round of Bunch, which is the most addicting game on the planet and I've had to restrict myself to one round at a time because otherwise four hours will go by. Only a five-level demo is online, but I don't even play all five levels: I play to maximize the score on the first level (which is a way I often end up playing these move-the-marbles games). When I first started playing, I was please to get a score in the eight hundreds. Today I got one which was nearly eight thousand and because of details that I noticed I am pretty sure that I could break eight thousand.

Oi. I'm an addict, pure and simple.

On another front, I have promised to cut tile today, but I'm worried about it because the tile saw throws water everywhere and I don't currently have a place where it's okay to throw water around. And the poor nice fellow finally had a two-day weekend and they called him in to work today because the other guy didn't show. So he's not going to find me a tarp and I'll have to ask Frank because I can't go in the shed or under the house because of past rodent occupation.

and lastly: it's a lovely day, and the ground is still wet from the first rain of the season, even though it was barely enough to call the First Flush event (and not enough in Capitola, so I think I'll be doing Urban Watch there one more time).
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So they called the first real rain of the season today at about 5:30, and I'm up the mountain at Gloria's until 7:30 or 8. I'll swing by the "hub" -- a house where the stuff is dropped off -- to see if I can help, but I expect by the time I get there all the excitement will be over. And I found some nifty rain pants at the Goodwill today, too, when I took Gloria there.

October fourth and the rainy season has begun, more or less. It's really more of what I call "will it really rain again?" season. Because sometimes the first rain is followed by a dry spell. It also puts me in an awkward position re the boy who I'm not really letting sleep on my couch (because I just can't stand having him there all the time, sorry). I meant to have him set up before now, but I don't. I may have to let him sleep there a few more times, which will annoy Frank and Emma and the nice fellow very much. While it was summer, and dry and warm enough at night, I could afford to be cold about it.

Even though our climate is completely clement, it is not healthy to get wet here and stay wet for a long time. Every year a few people die out there -- usually old, ill, or alcoholic or junkies, but occasionally a young healthy sober person too.

This just in: the FBI has decided that there is some criminality involved in the spinach fiasco and has raided Grower's Express, a packing company which has not been mentioned in any of the reports or investigations till now. They say they're investigating allegations that somebody somewhere might not have taken all the necessary steps to insure spinach safety before putting the bagged salads into interstate commerce.

You know what? This is bullshit. They can't find contaminants at the packing sheds they've already looked at. They won't find contaminants in the office records of this company either. What they're doing is seizing on an opportunity to make the Office of Homeland Security look like it gives a damn about something. By turning it into an FBI action instead of an FDA action, they've turned it from a medical and scientific issue into a political one. (that is, they've robbed the issue of its last scientific vestiges and thrown it into the depths of political maneuvering).

On another front, I'm doing substantial rewrites on Afterwar because I have seen all these places where my men of action can actually act.

Futurismic didn't want "convoy."

And I'm thinking about expanding "what to do with a thousand lemons" into a bookful of flash fictions with lemon recipes. Is that a good idea?
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So "Holland's Finest" in San Jose informs me that they're not allowed to import chicken. It seems to me that by the time it's been ground to the consistency of toothpaste and baked with various vegetables embedded in it the chance of spreading bird flu is rather less than the chance of me sprouting long silky pearlescent blue-green wings and growing a third pair of limbs. But there it is.

My next step is to find a deli that makes it on this side, if there is such a thing. The nice fellow wants to start at the Italian deli in North Beach, but we all know it's really because he wants to get a sandwich there. I could get a case of Bitter. But I doubt that they will know anything about a Dutch breakfast sandwich meat.

I have lost three pounds since returning from Europe (a little less than a week). That actually puts me a pound lower than I was at my lowest-for-the year. What am I doing differently? Eating breakfasts like the hostel ones, basically. Sort of maybe a lowish-carbohydrate thing, over all. But not really very low. Until yesterday and today I was also walking at least a mile a day, too.

I'm a bit less than two thirds of the way through Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell. I don't know what I think about it. I'm still reading it, so I guess I like it well enough. But there are long stretches that I actively dislike, and other stretches where I wonder why she bothers with them. I suppose it all comes together in the end.

Also, the period spelling is kind of annoying, especially since I've never read a book of the era the book is pretending to be that actually seemed to use the spellings ("chuse" for "choose" mainly). And the books I've been reading can't all be infested with updated spelling because a lot of times I've read them in early editions. Or is the spelling supposedto be part of the alternate-history flavor? I don't know. I've told the nice fellow that the book is probably more for him than it is for me, but he doesn't read much fiction any more.

On another front -- I'm still struggling to enliven Afterwar. I didn't do anythig today but read amateur online fiction, most of which has the opposite problem. Actually my current favorite, which has the tremendously icky title of Once a Slave . . ., breaks every rule I've ever embraced:

¤apostrophe words
¤smeerps
¤pseudomedieval setting
¤social systems that don't make sense
¤severely mismatched tech levels
¤ridiculously powerful magic
¤historically mismatched language
¤mage lords
¤I could go on

and there are problems with the character development and plot and stuff. But. It's really wonderful anyway. It has drive and heart and color and sensation, and I could keep reading it forever and apparently I will have to because it's 133K and no end in sight.
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Frank has about eighteen essays to write for his supplementary applications to medical school. This is because he's getting lots of requests for supplementary applications. Also because the medical schools' admissions people are bonkers. One of them wants him to tell them what a life in discovery means to him. Another wants to know how he will provide diversity to the medical school (hmm. 3rd generation communist, no that won't do). Some of them want him to write three essays. Apparently, every prompt is enough different that he can't reuse the essays from one school to the next.

Meanwhile, I want to change how images are displayed on my friends page and I can't find the place to do it. Again. I thought I may have tagged the place where several people told me how to do it last time but I can't find a tag that seems to say that. Why is it so hard? Why isn't there a FAQ entitled "how do I manage how images display on my friends page?" There is a FAQ for what makes the page display wrong so you have to scroll, and you'd think that would have instructions, or a link to instructions, but no.

Today I cut 4000 words out of Afterwar. I think I did the right thing. The way it was, Pablo kept returning places with these drawn-out passages with a lot of minor business in them whose only purpose was to illuminate bits of world or to establish small hints about the real action. I cut out the longest and most egregious of those and replaced it with two paragraphs about the displaced persons camp he's working in at the time of chapter 3. I also changed the conversation at the end of the chapter.

I wonder what the etymology of "punching up" is. When I think about it I don't like it, unless it's supposed to be a reference maybe to the practice of beating on a pillow to make it more fluffy. But even so, there's something not right about it.

There was a car alarm going off yesterday -- a really wildly annoying one, worse than I've heard in a long time -- after half an hour or so the nice fellow called the police (I was off testing water by then). A hald hour or so later the police came and did something to make it stop. I want people to stop having car alarms. Especially in my neighborhood.
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Only if you're interested.

two versions behind the cut )

Why I am not doing this in rasfc -- they're long bits. Also, I don't do my share of critiquing.
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Which is better?  This first one:

1. From the plane the land looked unscarred by long years of war, a great lustrous animal supporting the symbiont cities, fields, and parkland, pulsing with clean, new, intelligent roads, the tiny vehicles on them like the cells in a person's veins. But the scars existed still, subtle small ones and shocking big ones. Some injuries are slow to heal: others maybe never heal.

The little group -- five, counting Pablo's son who never knew anything of the war or its aftermath -- stepped tentatively out of the plane into the warmth of a day destined to be hot. None of them had been here in a very long time, and the place was unrecognizable. This little airport, for example, was only five years old, and had not even been a wistful hope when they were here before. Pablo detached himself from the group and approached one of the staff, an earnest, clear-eyed young man, and asked the way to Maris camp. "I heard there's a bus that goes there," he said.

 Or this second one?

2.Very likely they would not return to Maris after this one last time. The place was unrecognizable anyway. It looked unscarred by the long years of war: from the plane an observer could certainly not pick Maris out from the fertile land, crossed by clean, new, intelligent roads and the symbiotic vehicles that ran on them. But down there, the scars existed still, small subtle ones and shocking big ones. Some that would never heal, maybe.

The little group -- five, counting Pablo's son who had never seen the war's aftermath -- stepped tentatively into the early warmth of a day destined to be hot. Pablo detached himself from the group and approached one of the staff. "How do we get to Maris Camp?" he asked. "I heard there's a bus that goes there."





It's very exciting: I've decided where I will send Afterwar when I'm done, and I'm really close.

 

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Or millimetering?


Anyway, I just finished the second to the last chapter in Afterwar. I have 90,175 words. The last chapter is a short one. It's the referendum, and I may decide, based on how the chapter I just wrote came out, that the referendum chapter is de trop (which would mean that I have a draft right now, especially considering the last line of this chapter, which is pretty purple and I think I mean that in a good way). Not long ago I was worried that the book wasn't going to break 80K. It turned out I had munged the master document and a long chapter wasn't in the master, which meant that it didn't get counted. Since I rarely open the master and go into the chapters from there, I just didn't notice until I was doing some revision task.

I've been preparing a glossary. I think the words are well scaffolded within the text, but I know that some readers like glossaries, so I've been making them whenever I do any worldbuilding.

Lately I've been noticing a whole lot of different ranunculus relatives and I wish I knew their names.

It looks like I've been letting the garden go this summer as I work on the Europe trip and cleaning out the house and, mostly, have quiet vegetative breakdowns.
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I'm having a lot of trouble with Afterwar. I think maybe it's because we aren't after war anymore, we're in war. Anyway, I sometimes work better to high-tension music, so I have the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars playing.

Frank says:"So you're listening to some of the cool things Jews came up with as a counterpoint to the news?" Only he doesn't say all that, because people in my family often start a sentence and leave it hanging because everybody can tell where it's going.

Well, I wasn't thinking of that. But I would like to remind myself that nationality, culture, ethnicity, whatever, does not determine or even I think all that strongly influence political behavior outside of giving names and shapes to the political entities involved. It's not reasonable to expect that because the Jewish tradition we hold to in our family is a tradition of social justice and internationalism and other obsolete values, that any modern Jewish entity would behave any differently from any other entity sharing their economic and political realities. I have nothing personal to be outraged by, except in that genocide is always personally outrageous. Clarinets are not related in any way to missiles, in other words.

One of the things that people do to get away with doing and thinking things that perpetuate racism is to pretend to symmetricality. One way to do this is to pretend that all bigotry is the same, that all prejudice is the same. "It's just as bad that so many black people hate white people." (well, no, because black hate hardly ever ruins white lives) "The Palestinians don't even recognize Israel's right to exist." (not that it did the Palestinians any good to repeatedly endorse the two-state solution)

When you do this you take as equal the resistance of an occupied people and the oppressive actions of the occupiers. It's possible to use the word "violence" to describe both behaviors, and it's possible to find individual and group crimes, but one carries with it the power of the state. And that makes the difference.

on another front, just to remember it:Gastronomicon, thanks to cicadabug. (Yes, I ave given up on the personhead: there is a personhead-shaped hole in my brain where the code for the lj-user tag belongs. I have learned that code more times than I can count, and forgotten in more times than that. The href tag, though, I know and remember)

And another thing: Afterwar is now at 88,800 words, more or less, even though it's annoyoing as all hell to write. I think I have only the last bit to write in a really short chapter I just decided recently to write (the referendum!)
ritaxis: (Default)
I don't know what happened. I think that one of the long pieces was missing from the master document -- it certainly was just now when I was nosing around to check continuity and correct the timetable -- but Afterwar, with two chunks left to complete, is at 87679 words, which is well inside my comfort zone. Previously I thought I was going to be lucky to come in at 70K, which is the bottom of my comfort zone for this kind of book. I don't want it to be much longer than 90=92K, though, because it does some wonky things with the timeline and I think it's a burden to read wonky books that are very long.

I have never written anything so out of order and jumping around in my life. I have gone back and changed things radically, or added and subtracted things, but this book is entirely crazy-quilt in process. This is true of the chronological order as well as the process order, and the one might be the cause of the other. At first I thought I was doing two straight linear timelines, one in Pablo and Resi's childhoods and one in their adulthoods, but at some point last year it hit me that I wanted the three longer pieces, the adult ones, to go A-C-B instead of A-B-C. A being the segment in which the two men meet as adults, B the segment in which they more or less become friends and also meet the women they'll spend their lives with, and C being the segment in which they are both involved in a labor dispute,and both of them take unaccustomed risks to resolve it. I just thought that the B segment was more like a conclusion.

And now I have a segment at the end (which was originally the last one of the early timeline and the first time the two men meet in the flesh, though they don't know it, and I hope I'm not bludgeoning the reader too much with this) which takes place before A and which joins the two timelines together.

The early timeline does proceed in a linear, chronological fashion, in a series of much shorter segments, the last of which takes place only months before the new last segment. In a way, I guess, this ties the story together better, and explains how they came out the way they did.
ritaxis: (Default)
This seems to say something I didn't start out to say, and I don't really agree with it, except perhaps as pertains to my very own self and not the world at large )

On yet another front, I have an idea for a new chapter for Afterwar involving more medical technology and distance from the front.

And since nobody told me the query letter's stupid, I'm going to look at it one more time and then use it.
ritaxis: (Default)
totally noodling to save my soul )

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